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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 28 Intermission: Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters (1972)

Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters (1972)

In 1972, Rankin/Bass produced a sequel of sorts to Mad Monster Party?, with the TV special Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters. This Halloween special featured many of the same monster characters, including an imitation of Boris Karloff as the doctor (he died in 1969), although it presumably was not intended as a direct sequel since many of these characters perished at the end of Mad Monster Party. Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters was created using cel animation, rather than stop-motion. While Mad Monster Party still enjoys an ardent cult following, Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters has fallen into comparative obscurity.

For this special they used traditional cel drawn animation rather than the 3D "Animagic" stop motion technique they are so well known for. The show was created as part of series of TV specials created for the "The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie", which ran for one hour each. The Rankin/Bass studio produced a total of 4 episodes for this series, including "That Girl in Wonderland", "Willie Mays and Say-Hey Kid", "The Red Baron", and "Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters".

The crew for this special featured quite a few studio veterans that had worked on so many other specials. The background musical is from Rankin/Bass composer Maury Laws. Character design was by Paul Coker, another studio veteran and a Mad Magazine artist. The writing was done by William Keenan and Lou Silverman who worked on so many of their projects.

The premiere release of this cel animated TV special was on ABC on Saturday September 23, 1972. This was 5 years after the studio released its stop motion musical "Animagic" theatrical release titled "Mad Monster Party", in theaters for the Fall season of 1967. Many of the characters and plot elements from the theatrical movie appear in the TV special.


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